Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Pack - Do You Believe In Magic/Things Bring Me Down (1965)


ROD GOODWAY gtr, vcls A
ANDY RICKELL hrmnca, gtr A
1 Do You Believe In Magic?/Things Bring Me Down (Columbia DB 7702) 1965

1) Came out of Wiltshire in the mid-sixties and enjoyed some success with this cover of The Lovin' Spoonful song. Gregg had earlier played in Johnny Kidd and The Pirates and The Tornados. The 45, which was produced by Mickie Most, is now becoming hard to find and is quite collectable.
Story of the band by Lead singer Rustic Rod Goodway.

2) "What an incredible time we had, taken from our tiny Wiltshire town of Calne and hurled into the wonderful world of Radio London and offshore radio."

I was perusing the Mini Memories web page in a fit of rampant nostalgia and I came across a mention of my old group The PACK, who good old Radio London played and plugged merrily back in 1965 with our debut 45 'Do You Believe In Magic'. John Peel and I (in much more recent times) spoke regularly on the telephone, and his memories of The Pack's version of 'Do You Believe In Magic' were (unsurprisingly) not favourable, but he never had a bad word to say about Radio London.It's true, The Pack were 'one hit wonders' but what an incredible time we had, taken from our tiny Wiltshire town of Calne and hurled into the wonderful world of Radio London and offshore radio. We presented our disc to Radio Caroline from the luxury of our Recording Manager Mickie Most's yacht! We were playing alongside all the big stars of the day. I recall Dusty Springfield as so tiny, but so majestic. Our Business Manager was Peter Grant, who went on to manage Led Zeppelin.I remember us doing a Radio Luxemburg programme with Shaw Taylor and Muriel Young. I think it was called 'Swoon Club'. Boards were held up with the immortal words 'scream' and 'swoon' on them, for the live audience to do their thing, just in case there weren't any Beatles or other 'scream-worthy' people in the studio. I remember Jeff Beck was there, and we were mighty impressed when he came over to say 'hello' to our famous bass player (and personal manager) Brian Gregg. Brian had previously played with Johnnie Kidd and the Pirates, Terry Dene, the Tornados, Billy Fury and many others in the Larry Parnes stable of 'artists with silly names'. Brian was famed for writing the immortal bass line to Johnny Kidd and The Pirates' 'Shakin' All Over'!
Right: "This photo includes our 'mascot' (and real 'leader of The Pack') Sabre the Alsation dog."The Lovin' Spoonful's version of 'Do You Believe In Magic' was indeed the best - well, they wrote it after all - but Mickie Most insisted that we cover it. I had the flu when I sang it, but studio time was so limited, etc... excuses, excuses! We enjoyed a resurgence of sales a while after the single's release, due to radio and TV appearances. I remember a TV show produced in Bristol by TWW (Television Wales and the West), called 'Discs A'Go-Go' where we supported Bo Diddley. Wow, I'd love to see THAT footage again, but it was probably all wiped.
There was life after The Pack too, for me and for lead guitarist Andy Rickell. The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, Linda Lewis, The Third Ear Band, and loads more groups, up to the present day.
I cannot help but chuckle when I read (at the bottom of the same page as the 24th October charts) about Ron Wood and brother Art Wood band The Artbirds, as the first band I joined when leaving The Pack in 1967/68 was The Artwoods, who had just changed their name to The St Valentine's Day Massacre. Art Wood actually left the band and I took his place as the band's lead singer in order to perform the outstanding live dates booked for The St.Valentines Day Massacre and to promote the final single "Buddy Can You Spare A Dime". Many years later, in 1988, the drummer of The Artbirds, Twink became the drummer of my band Magic Muscle when we reformed for a tour and to record an album. (Twink had been a member of The Fairies, Tomorrow, and The Pretty Things. See notes for Fab 40 14/03/65, where the Fairies appeared with a climber.)
All the Sixties stuff is represented with many photos of those times in the Rock Family Tree at my website (see below).I must admit, I have never dwelt much on my 'fab' days in The Pack before, even tho' I've got loads of memorabilia here. My website doesn't even scratch the surface! (Perhaps I should go all the way and upload everything?) On October 21st of 2006, I will be 60. Too old to be acting coy and 'cool' over my 'shock horror 1960's chart entry'! No matter that it wasn't a massive hit, being there was a privilege. But I've stayed in the music biz all along. I still play, release occasional albums and make my living selling music that is very much today, but also, to me anyway, in the true 'spirit of the 60's'. Brian Gregg is also still playing professionally.In the summer of 2005, I did a festival gig with Barry Melton, the lead guitarist (way back when) with Country Joe and the Fish. We were jamming at one stage, and I could literally sing anything I liked. For the first time in forty years, I sang 'Do You Believe In Magic'. It was exactly 40 years since the 'hit', and I really enjoyed it. What a pity I didn't find your site then, and get in touch. But better late than never. I hope some of your readers can find their way to my site to relive some of those special 1965-1967 moments and, indeed, listen to The Pack's inferior (tho' very 'punk rock') version of 'Do You Believe In Magic' in my Garden of Sound.

Ethereal Muscle "Believe In Magic", Live at Hilly Fields, July 2005.

Rod Goodway (Guitar and Vocals), Barry Melton (Rhythm Guitar), Huw Gower (Lead Guitar), Steve Carhart (Drums) and Vanessa Williams

1. Do You Believe In Magic
2. Things Bring Me Down


fotis said...

αν μπορείς να ξανα ανεβάσεις από pretty things το ομότιτλο και το get the picture. Τα link που έχεις δώσει (shareonall) δεν δουλεύουν. Thanx

Colin Bird said...

Hi Rod,I remember seeing at several gigs in Wiltshire,Cricklade,Purton Stoke,Wootton Bassett etc and i have a copy "in mint condition" which i bought from Duck Son & Pinkers [Swindon]when it came out,It's a great pity the band broke up as i felt you had a great career in front of you,It seems that it started to go belly up when Brian Gregg joined but this is only my opinion

Rustic Rod said...

Hello Colin Bird. Sorry I am so late in replying to your above comment but I only just discovered it. Amazing that you went to so many of our gigs. We had quite a little career on the 'Village Hall circuit' ; ) It wasn't really Brian Greggs fault that the band changed; oddly it was the record deal itself that caused the rift. Our original drummer left because he refused to buy a new drum kit and our bass player quit because he was afraid he would not be able to return to his education studies. So, just because of the record ( the thing that should have 'made' us) we lost our entire rhythm section overnight. Bob Duck was (and still is) a fine replacement drummer and Brian Gregg himself took over bass playing duties but we obviously lost the cameraderie of the original band and our local fans thought we had sold out in some way. Luckily it was just the beginning of my musical career and the start of many recordings, Tours and adventures but The PACK ( and before that ROD & The SCEPTRES ; ) holds a dear place in my heart. We certainly had some great times in those village halls & youth clubs. Thanks for getting in touch 👍🏼